The floors creak a little.
On the walls I notice
nail holes and tiny fissures
from things just taken down.
Here, the door doesn’t
quite shut without slamming,
the bathroom has no
you, no table to hold
a piece of you in frames, just the hamper
and I, in a mirror hung too high
to see where your lies would
(often) hit below my belt.
Tonight, I have bought myself back
this way, with these new sights
of old rooms, old places but new keys
on my mantle. Mine. As if they
were new hands
on my face, on my waist,
new come-hither touches
waiting on air for me
in this quiet reverie
where I feel your absence
only barely and bleach all surfaces
knowing the true value of bleach,
is to evacuate germs, infections,
to rid the mind of old thoughts,
old places, old scents, old colors
ridden from my clothes like pictures
ridden from boxes. No, nothing
you own is here now. No messages. No
lost albums. No broken truths. Perhaps
it is strange to find solace
in these bare walls, to seek a clean
place without memories
in which to sterilize
my heart or my teeth;

perhaps some can let sit
other people’s tarnished things, wonder
if they’ll ever pick them up and wait
until the knowing of who
owned what would fade.
But I say, the color of
is riddance, always white, white
white, white, white — like what,
in the bleach, your photo becomes
when the face dissolves away,
how the paper looks, peeling wet
then drifting
into grey skies, sheet-like and airy,
falling from the second floor window
where it is a marvel I even bother to
watch myself let it, or any
part of you, go.
Shame on me, I think,
that I should try so hard to see
an already fallen thing, fall.

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